As I nibbled on my fries taking in my surroundings at The Sedalia Wendy's I decided I wasn't a fan. There isn't anything wrong with it really, especially in the world of 21st Century fast-food restaurants.  There was something about it that just stood out to me.

Take a look at the picture above. Nothing seems off right? No, it seems like a perfectly fine place to take a load off and enjoy some fries, one of Wendy's fresh burgers, and maybe a frosty. Yet while I sat there with Mike I was struck by how basic the restaurant looked. How my butt started to hurt after five minutes of sitting there. And just how cold the decor seemed.

Eating in fast-food dining rooms is a recent development for me. It's not something I'd done for close to 20 years with any regularity. Until Mike and I realized sometimes we like to get out of the office but don't want to spend 40 minutes to an hour getting lunch, or don't want to have a bill top out $15-20 dollars a person for lunch.

The reality is, most fast food places have a reasonably priced combo meal. So hey, why not get out of the office, drive two or three minutes down South Limit, pop into a place, and enjoy an executive fast food meal in the dining room, or lobby, as some fast food joints call it?

We've done it at KFC, Freddy's, McDonald's, Burger King, Mighty Melt, Jimmy John's, and Goody's. Panera and Mazzio too, but I wouldn't call them fast food. The Wendy's dining room is the one that stuck out to me the most.

Of course, I remember Wendy's like the one in the photo below.

Wendy's Announces Plans To Sell Over 600 Of Its Restaurants
Getty Images

There's something about those tables and chairs. Remember the old newspaper print on the tables? Large windows. It just felt warmer than the Sedalia Wendy's does today. I suspect some of it, or most of my reaction is based on nostalgia or good memories of times past.

Whether it was going to Wendy's in junior high with my parents so they could enjoy the Super Bar, remember that? Or the fact that it was our go-to place to meet for lunch right out of college. There was nothing like plotting our future radio careers over a burger, a coke, and a post-lunch cigarette.

The Sedalia Wendy's just came across as cold and blah when we sat down to eat. The good news is, plenty of other fast food places in Sedalia don't illicit that same reaction in me. McDonald's almost seems warmer than in the good ol' days. The KFC bucket light in the remodeled KFC warms it up and gives it character.

In fact, the only other place's decor that gave me pause was the Sedalia Burger King. The large dining room just seemed to have a lot of empty space and in some respects made me feel similar to how the Sedalia Wendy's does.

All of this is to be expected though. The lines at the drive-through a long, and the dining rooms, at times, seem to be pretty empty. In fact, in a post covid world, I'd expect fast food joint dining rooms to be getting smaller and more austere as fast food places cater to the motorist looking for a meal on the go, or something to take home.

That said, I miss the ugly carpets, the newsprint tables, the big windows, and the familiarity of the fast food joint I grew up with. The good news and this is probably more important, is the burger and fries were hot and tasty, and the soda was ice cold.

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